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To Judge Judy

29 Nov

To introduce this post, I accused a commenter on the Bleachgate blogpost of being an ‘alternative medicine’ apologist in a private email. They posted this as a comment and emailed me back to say that I was confused about who hadn’t made their mind up about MMS.
This was my response.
I want to post it because I feel it also highlights just why I want to deal with MMS.

To Judge Judy
First, I accused you of being an alternative medicine apologist because you used one of their prime tactics, attacking conventional medicine.
Secondly, you’ve not made up your mind on MMS? Fair enough.
However, consider this: no clinical evidence exists for it, only anecdotes. Also, toxicity studies show that ClO2 (MMS), in doses lower than Jim recommends, is a neurotoxin and a thyroid toxin. These both are worrying. The fact that Jim sells MMS, or at least used to, and now instead makes money from others with his book, DVDs, courses and royalties from other MMS suppliers, then lies and says he makes no money from MMS, is even more worrying, especially since we’re talking about what is supposedly a medicine. A pseudo medicine that is being targeted specifically at those most vulnerable, those with cancer, AIDS and other life threatening, horrible illnesses. Even worse, it’s targeted at those with chronic illnesses, those with the most potential to suffer from the long term damaging effects of it.
All this, without a shred of evidence that it works.
Perhaps now you see my worry and desire to sort this out ASAP?
– Rhys

Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (with capes!)

7 Nov

Hello everyone!

As you might know, Marianne aka @noodlemaz and I have started a podcast, Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (with capes!).

You can also find us on iTunes here Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (with capes!) (reviews much appreciated!)

In this podcast, we are reviewing and reading Jim Humble’s book, The Miracle Mineral Solution of the 21st Century

It is a comedy goldmine.

We will also be having guest reports. In episode 3, we will have one from Kash Farooq (@kashfarooq on Twitter)

As an extra, Marianne has written out transcripts with added links and pictures, so you can see exactly what we were talking about/where we got our information from.

You can view them here:

So, subscribe, review, send in your feedback to 

Hope you enjoy it!

Small update on Bleachgate

20 Oct

Hello all!

As I mentioned in an earlier blogpost, Councillor Woodman promised to write a letter to the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell.

Today I received a copy of the reply.

First – the FSA have concluded that MMS is injurious to health and deemed it unsafe under Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002. This article sets the general principles and requirements of food law. Sodium chlorite also isn’t ‘on the permitted list of minerals as set out in the annex to Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC’. This means that it is not a permitted food supplement.

The next paragraph basically reiterates that MMS is not on sale here in Wales and that the FSA are identifying MMS sellers in the UK and reporting them and dealing with them.

Finally, the most exciting paragraph which I shall directly quote.

You should also be aware that MMS has also now been the subject of an international alert by the World Health Organisation (WHO). They are encouraging national authorities to take necessary steps to protect the public from harm associated with this product.

Wow. The World Health Organisation, baby.

Bleachgate: More on MMS in the UK

1 Oct

Hello again all!

Well, I’ve been rather busy over the past week. A lot has happened since I last blogged.

Last Thursday, I went and listened to the response to my public question to Cardiff Council about Trading Standards and MMS. Thank you to @JohnLDixon for all the help with doing this. The response was brilliant. Basically, Trading Standards in Cardiff ARE still looking into my complaint. They’re “not avoiding any responsibilities”. I was told the problem needs to be tackled nationally. The deputy leader of Cardiff Council, Ms Judith Woodman, who responded to my question, also promised to write to the chief medical officer in Wales about it. The South Wales Echo came to meet me beforehand, did an interview with me and took a lot of photos. The article can be found here!

Then… On Friday, the 24th September, Bleachgate went official.

The Food Standards Agency released a warning about it, in a similar vein to the FDA’s announcement. This was picked up by the BBC and various other websites.

On Monday, I was sitting in my physics lesson when the Ms. Humphreys from the school office came in and said to me that Radio 4 wanted to do an interview. I agreed and this is the result…

The rest of the day went by almost normally, until my chemistry lesson in the afternoon. My school principal, Mr. Dorey, was waiting outside. He pointed towards me and said “Don’t think you’re getting away with it that easily!” I was confused and thought I was in trouble, until he congratulated me on my Radio 4 appearance. He then told me that the day was going to get even more surreal, as BBC Radio Wales had contacted him and wanted to do an interview with me. They wanted to do a live interview at 5:30, but unfortunately, I had other plans for after school – another newspaper article in the Echo, more on that in a minute – so wasn’t able to do a live interview. However, the host of “Good Evening Wales”, Adrian Masters, came to my school and interviewed me. Since the program is quite long (2 hours), you might want to skip to the relevant bits. The first interview with me is at roughly 17 minutes. The next part about Bleachgate is an interview with the FSA which confirms once and for all that Miracle Mineral Solution is illegal. This comes roughly at 1 hour 16 minutes.

All this publicity is excellent. Thanks to all who signed up to the Google spreadsheet to complain about MMS Health and various other MMS peddlers to Trading Standards. As it happens, they are already investigating… er… ALL MMS sellers in the UK due to the FSA complaining to a number of the relevant Trading Standards bodies.

I mentioned earlier about another newspaper article in the South Wales Echo. They were meant to come and do an interview and photos on Monday of this week, but due to a last minute meeting, were unable to come. However, they will be coming and doing the interview on Tuesday, so all is not lost. Follow me on Twitter @rhysmorgan and I’ll let you all know when it’ll be in and if the article is available online or not.

Thanks for the help. Without your retweets about the blog and the video, this could have just been pushed under the carpet.

– Rhys

Homeopathy in Cardiff

2 Sep

A few weeks ago, I decided to send an email to the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board regarding homeopathy on the NHS.
I asked them if they had any information about spending on it, and if they had it, to send it on to me under the FOIA. First response was “We’re not sure, We’ll get back to you when I have more information.”
So, I waited. And I waited. And waited some more.
Just over two weeks later, I sent another email saying “Do you have the information yet”
I got an automatic out-of-office response saying the person who had emailed me originally had gone on holiday and wasn’t going to be back till January 2011. How annoying. Luckily, she had delegated her job to someone else, so I sent them an email.
The response I got was another out-of-office email, saying they’d be back in the office the following Monday. It was quickly followed by an actual response saying they’d look into it when they got back to the office.
And again, I waited.
Another week passed without any further correspondence. Getting a little annoyed, I sent another email asking if they had the information yet. Once again, out-of-office reply. They’d be back in the office on the 11th September. So, I figured I’d wait and send another email then.
However, today, I was sent a very pleasing email which I will print in full here:

Dear Mr Morgan, I’ve been asked to reply to you on behalf of Estelle Hitchon in connection with your query regarding homeopathic care. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. However, I am able to let you know that we do not offer any homeopathic treatment here at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. If I can help in any other way please let me know. Many thanks.

Chris Davies

(emphasis mine)

Hooray! This means that Cardiff and the Vale are a homeopathy free zone!
Congratulations to the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. You are awesome.

Bleachgate: The Response

14 Aug

Wow. What just happened? I think Bleachgate went viral.
So far, I have received loads of messages of support from folks including Ben Goldacre (@BenGoldacre), Simon Singh (@SLSingh), Tom Chivers (@TomChivers) and John Dixon (@JohnLDixon). I’ve done
interviews for The Pod Delusion and Skeptics Guide to the Universe,
and a video production company in Yorkshire want to do a documentary
about me and my skeptical outlook.
So, what have I been up to since the video/blogpost? Well, I’ve not exactly been sitting around doing nothing!
Firstly, I have reported a couple of websites selling Miracle Mineral Solution to Consumers Direct who sent them on to Trading Standards. Trading
Standards have forwarded the complaints to the MHRA, who will get back to them with info on whether A) MMS is safe and B) the claims of efficacy are true. Given that we already know what the results should say, Trading Standards should be able to nail these websites. (Links now included here and  here; thanks for the NoFollow info!) I’ve also, as previously mentioned, done interviews for The Pod Delusion and Skeptics Guide to the Universe.
Since the video became popular, I was permanently banned from Crohn’s
Forum. A representative has also posted various comments on the video
claiming that I lied and that I am misleading everyone, that I was
illegally on the forum and that I was rude, aggressive and insulting.
I’d like to address these claims.
1. The claim that I lied in the video.
I did not once lie in the video. You can verify this yourself by
looking at the FreezePages of the threads herehere.
2. That I was illegally on the forum. This claim was made based upon
the fact that to register on the forum, you have to agree agree that
you are over 18 – unless you e-mail the admin asking for permission
beforehand, which I did.
(I will gladly forward these e-mails to anyone who asks for this proof.)
3. The final claim that I was rude, aggressive and insulting; I disagree
with. @medtek, @IrregularShed, @DanMcskelly, @frozenwarning, @KimMKendall, @AriesFyre, @FerFrias and @DT_1975 all followed my posts as Bleachgate unfolded and are willing to put their name to it that I wasn’t rude, aggressive or insulting (although @DanMcskelly says I came across as a bit snooty. Sorry if I did. That was never my intent.) But don’t just take their word for it. Read the FreezePages and decide for yourself.
Now, what’s next?
Well, Councillor John Dixon has asked me if I want to raise a public question in a Cardiff Council meeting and had offered to help me prepare. I have taken him up on this offer and will, this week, be in contact with him about this.
So, once again, thank you all for getting the story out there.
Special thanks to @kashfarooq for sending me @crohnsibd’s comments by email! Also special thanks to everyone who wrote their own blogposts about Bleachgate.
I will, of course, keep you informed of any and all news regarding Bleachgate!
Thanks for reading.
– Rhys

EDIT: I’ve now included those links. Thanks to everyone for the advice regarding NoFollow!


11 Aug

I LOVE Twitter. Really, I do. But I have some gripes with it.

What really gets me is how many linkspamming accounts are set up and don’t get taken down, no matter how often they’re reported for spam.

One such example of these organised link spammers are homeopaths.

In TweetDeck, just so I can keep an eye on what’s being said, I have a column set up to search for “homeopathy OR homeopathic OR homeopath”. Basically, whenever anyone mentions anything to do with those, I’ll know about it. One thing I’ve noticed from this, however, is the sheer number of identical tweets that happen. I swear, there must be only one or two different people or computers actually “funding” these linkspam accounts with links to spam.

So, I implore you, dear blog readers, that if ever you see an obvious linkspam account, that you report it to Twitter for spam.

Another few dangerous and mad Twitterers include DebbyBruck, DrShreya and RashmiChanana. They frequently linkspam and retweet each others tweets. I advise you keep an eye on their accounts, make sure that any advice they give is swiftly followed by proof homeopathy is a farce.

Night everyone!

– Rhys


10 Aug

Hello everyone. This is a text adaptation of my video which you can find here:

Today, I am going to write about Crohn’s and what went down on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

I’ll start by giving a brief background to Crohn’s Forum. It’s a support forum for those who suffer from Crohn’s disease. It’s a very active forum with lots of members.

I signed up a few months ago, just after I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. I was looking for a support forum, a community of people with same illness as me and some, on the same meds as me.

I was warmly welcomed by the people on the forum. People sent their apologies and condolences for my diagnosis. etc.

I was never an overtly active member. I popped back every now and then to see what was going on, or if I had a problem/question, I’d post it. e.g. insomnia, dealing with other prednisolone side effects/other Crohn’s symptoms. Another thing I’d do is read someone’s stem cell treatment blog, which I found very interesting.

All the while, I noticed there was a lot of alternative medicine pushers/believers on the forum. One thing I noticed was Miracle Mineral Solution. I joined this forum before I became active skeptic. I was skeptical of this product, but at the time didn’t do anything about it.

Yesterday, however, I started thinking about Crohn’s Forum and the alternative nonsense going on. I remembered this Miracle Mineral Solution and so decided to Google it. What I found was shocking to me.

First off, I found an FDA safety bulletin posted on 30th July 2010. From the FDA page which can be found here, I learned that MMS was an industrial bleach, when made up as according to the instructions. It produces chlorine dioxide, which is used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment. I’ll come back to the FDA warning in a minute. After learning what it actually is, I went to the official MMS website. It is utterly disgusting. It claims that MMS is a cure for AIDS, cancers, hepatitis A, B and C, malaria, herpes and tuberculosis. This started my alarm bells ringing. The website screams DANGEROUS WOO to me.

So, the website also tells people how to take it. Basically, after making it up, you take a few drops of it. You judge if you’re getting better by how nauseous you feel after taking it. Seriously.

I’m not going to go into the pseudoscientific nonsense behind it, because frankly, it’s a waste of time. I will however summarize it. The website claims MMS helps the body to identify toxins and that it helps remove said toxins. Removal of these toxins causes nausea. So, how might one explain that it also causes nausea in well people? Of course, it’s cleaning up past infections or other illnesses being “mopped up”. Yeah… Right…

So, back to the FDA warning. It’s fairly straightforward. It states the problem with MMS, that it’s an industrial bleach. Drinking bleach is very obviously dangerous and has effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and symptoms of severe dehydration. It then goes on to mention how MMS makes unfounded claims of efficacy with regard to its long list of alleged cures. The FDA also notes how people might self treat and refuse conventional medicine and how this is dangerous. Finally, it recommends people stop using it and throw it out.

Seeing this, knowing that people on Crohn’s Forum use it, I thought “Damn, this is bad. I should warn them”. After checking to see if anyone had mentioned it before, I started a thread on Crohn’s Forum saying very simply, “Warning: Miracle Mineral Solution is dangerous.” I Implored people using it to stop and posted link to FDA warning. The first reply? “Wowza”. I thought, “Phew, thank goodness. If anything, that’s one person informed.” However, the thread quickly took a very different route. The second reply? “Oh but you neglect to warn about Remicade’s side effects!” They then gave a long list of Remicade’s side effects, both common and rare, which, yes, include reactivation of TB and various lymphomas (rare side effects, for anyone interested) However, in my initial post, I made no mention of conventional medicine. Their posting was completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. An ad hominem attack on conventional medicine, if I ever saw one.

Next up, a user named D Bergy, starts ranting about how chlorine is used in various pharmaceuticals and industrial water treatment. Again, completely irrelevant to the fact that drinking pure industrial bleach is dangerous. He then goes on to say about how big pharma won’t sponsor studies into things like chlorine dioxide and Low Dose Naltrexone (another forte of D Bergy) because the cost of a medical trial would offset any profit from a generic drug, because it can’t be patented. OK, fair point. Still, it doesn’t mean they should be blindly accepted and used without assessing safety. He also starts trying to counter a point I made in an earlier post that anecdotes aren’t evidence when it comes to medicine. He used a metaphor, saying “I wouldn’t look for double blinded trials when looking for a car, I’d ask my friends for advice.” I rubbished this, saying it’s hardly the same as a using a medical treatment which could easily kill or damage you.

I then called him out on a post where I’d seen him giving out dangerous, unqualified medical advice to someone wanting to start to take Miracle Mineral Solution. This person, before starting taking MMS, had a bad throat. It was about to get much, much worse.

D Bergy posted in the person’s thread, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Oh, don’t worry, that’s fine. You can still take MMS” Hmm… Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. So, the person starts taking MMS and unsurprisingly, their throat gets worse. They post, getting concerned. D Bergy tells them it’s all normal and to keep taking the MMS. This person, stupidly, carries on. The next post I see from them says “I can hardly swallow my own spit”. D Bergy, yet again, tells them it’s normal and to carry on. This kind of unqualified medical advice is clearly dangerous. The person was probably suffering oesophageal burning due to drinking and gargling bleach, and was at risk of oesophageal collapse.

Back in my warning thread, D Bergy told me that I had falsified this claim, that he was handing out dangerous, unqualified medical advice. In response, I posted a number of quotes from the thread backing up my claim. He replies saying “You’ve taken that out of context!” I tell him I haven’t and he shuffles off. How I could’ve taken the quotes out of context is beyond me. I, correctly, claimed he was giving out dangerous, unqualified medical advice. I posted quotes with him giving out dangerous, unqualified medical advice. Nothing taken out of context. This calling out of a prominent member got a number of people angry and riled. I was also told by various users “Oh, well people have differing opinions on things. Judging peoples’ choice of treatment is wrong. No one in the thread was wrong. This is a support forum.” I was also told to stop slandering people. Something I had not once done in the thread. Another user then posted in the thread saying “I don’t mind this thread, so long as it’s respectful discussion going on.” I thought this might be a turning point in the thread, and we might actually get down to discussing Miracle Mineral Solution. Oh, how wrong I was. Instead, when I said I agreed with the respectful discussion, I was told it was told to “drop it” as it was neither the time nor the place to be discussing a) Whether D Bergy was a danger and b) Whether MMS was a danger. I made a posting saying I disagreed. It’s a treatment forum, therefore it’s the perfect place to discuss what some think is a treatment, and it’s 10 days after the FDA announcement, therefore it’s also the perfect time to discuss it, especially considering not everyone had heard the news before.

It was at this point that I started receiving abusive personal messages. A user known as Cackman888 sent me lots of PM’s calling me all sorts of nasty names. He also posted some of them in the thread. Back in the thread, I called for the name calling to stop and to start some rational discussion. These calls were both ignored. Instead, the name calling continued both in PM’s and the thread, with Cackman888 calling for me to be banned. He claimed I made out I knew everything about Crohn’s, something I never have and never would do. I do not and will not ever know everything about Crohn’s. Other people then started posting their negative conventional medicine anecdotes in the thread. It was quickly collapsing around me. I was also told that D Bergy had given great advice in the past and he’d been a member for years, and as such, it was wrong of me to criticise him. I was criticised for taking the scientific viewpoint. I decided “Right, that’s it. time to abandon ship.”

I started another thread entitled Anti-Skepticism. I’ve lost the exact wording of it, since the thread was deleted, so I’ll rely on memory. Basically, I started off saying how disgusted I was at the response to the warning thread. I told them that if anything, they should be more skeptical of potential treatments, given that they’re at a higher risk for snake oil peddlers to peddle them something. I once again questioned that it was not the time nor place to discuss MMS. I then called for negative alternative medicine anecdotes, something you never hear unless asked for. Sadly, this thread didn’t turn out the way I intended. Instead of actually sparking discussion, I was told that I’d interpreted the “neither the time nor place” thing wrong. Someone also posted telling me they trusted people on forums more than scientific evidence as “science has been proven wrong before”. The only logical post in the thread was from intermanaut summarising why people turn to alternative medicine. After all that, some more posts had been made in Miracle Mineral Solution thread. The discussion had sadly; well sort of sadly, turned to homeopathy. I flexed my knuckles and got down to answering the post. They told me they’d used homeopathy on their horse and that horses couldn’t possible have the placebo effect. I sent them a link to Science Based’s take on the matter and pointed out that animals can exhibit the placebo. They also said about how they hoped they could use alternative medicine to treat their son’s Crohn’s forever and that I’d be open minded to try it. I replied “Thanks, but no thanks. I rely on science based medicine”

Finally though, a senior member took notice of this thread and, to summarize, he told people to calm down. He said to them not to take the thread as a personal attack and that my opinions also shouldn’t be mocked – a very good point. Here, he was pointing out the irony of the alties criticising my opinion of alternative medicine and then saying “Don’t criticise our opinions”. He summed up my post excellently and then said “He was offering this alternative viewpoint on your alternative viewpoint.” He also said how he was appalled that there were calls to ban me, simply because I was looking out for people’s wellfare by posting this news about MMS. Huzzah! Someone with a bit of sense. This didn’t, however, stop the mods deleting both my threads.

I received a stern telling off by PM from a mod, saying I’d have a two week ban if I posted any more posts which upset people. I replied to this PM saying “If people get upset hearing that their favourite quackery has been banned by the FDA for being a danger, you should be contacting them telling them to grow up.” A number of different members started going round my previous posts where I’d criticised alternative medicine. Again, the replies were all “This is a support forum. How dare you ask for scientific proof to back up peoples claims! That’s antagonistic behaviour! Don’t criticise or question people’s choice of medication. How would you like it if people criticised your choice?” to which I responded “I wouldn’t care. I’m not married to azathioprine or prednisolone AND I have scientific proof backing up my choice. What do these people have? Nothing. And yet they get upset when I repost anything critical of their choice, even if it wasn’t me who posted it originally!”

At this point, I left it, as I was sick of arguing with people who clearly were not listening to anything I had to say, and were going through previous posts of mine looking to antagonise me.

So, this morning, I receive a PM quoting where I’d said “I upset people by pointing out they’re using fraudulent, even dangerous so called medicine? It’s them you should be writing to not me.” and a response to this quote, telling me it was my attitude which is upsetting and would not be tolerated. I was, at this point, banned for 10 days.

Make of it what you will. To me, it suggests that they want to silence debate. It appears a great number of the people who make up Crohn’s forum are in love with so called alternative medicines. What I don’t get, is how Cackman888 wasn’t banned. I was not being inflammatory at all with any of my posts, even when calling out D Bergy. He simply screamed at me to get off the forum and called me a number of derogatory words. I thought the people posting in the threads asked for respectful discussion. Why were they not telling Cackman888 to calm down and stop being offensive? Also, where is the ban, or at least warning, for D Bergy? He was clearly giving out dangerous, unqualified medical advice that someone was taking as if he was a medical professional. Clearly, it’s one rule for them and one rule for everyone else.

I was ostracised from the community, merely for asking for proof of a potential treatment and posting the dangers of another. It’s ridiculous. They’re willingly keeping themselves and, more dangerously, others ignorant, by deleting posts like mine.

So, what can we do to tackle the kind of problems demonstrated on Crohn’s forum?

Well, I don’t know. Some people have suggested that you sign up and start a guerrilla campaign from the inside. I can’t personally help with this at the moment, as I was not just userbanned, but IP banned from the forum. I’m sure that by building the number of skeptics active on Crohn’s forum will help in future discussions, however. The snake oil users already have numbers, which is why they can so quickly take over and take down any threads which go against their illogical, antiscientific beliefs. I think that one major problem is that a number of the mods of Crohn’s forum are also of the delusion that debate about these products is bad.

However, even though it appears all bad, at least the people who read the thread are now more informed. At least those who took the time to make note of the thread can make a more informed decision about their health and use of products. If they choose to ignore this advice, on their own head be it.

I suppose one more good thing that can come of all this, however, is knowing that the FDA are going to start prosecuting those who sell or advertise Miracle Mineral Solution. In the statement made to the press on their website they say “The FDA continues to investigate and may pursue civil or criminal enforcement actions as appropriate to protect the public from this potentially dangerous product.”

What would also be good, in my eyes at least, is if it were possible to prosecute those selling and advertising MMS under UK law, as the Cancer Act of 1939 states that no-one may claim to have cured cancer, which websites relating to Miracle Mineral Solution have done so.

So, that just about wraps up my first real blog post.

Any response to it, whether it be on twitter (@rhysmorgan) or in the comments, would be much appreciated. If you want to email me, don’t hesitate to ask me for my email address too!

Also, noticed any mistakes? Please let me know! Thanks.

– Rhys